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Physics 71 Lecture Notes

Topic 4.01: Periodic Transverse Waves

Mathematical Description
Mechanical Waves
Mechanical waves disturbances that only propagates
through some medium.
ex. sound waves sound cannot propagate in outer space due to the
lack of atmosphere (air)
Transverse waves the displacement of the medium is
perpendicular to the propagation.
Longitudinal waves particles of the medium move back
and forth, i.e. parallel to the direction of wave propagation.

Other classification of waves:

Pulse single traveling disturbance
Periodic waves the disturbance is repeatedly applied,
generating a train of pulses.
Sinusoidal wave the particle of the medium moves in a SHM.
Periodic Transverse Waves
Whenever a sinusoidal wave passes through a medium,
every particle in the medium undergoes simple harmonic
motion with the same frequency.
Crest highest point in the wave
Trough lowest point in the wave
Wavelength is the distance between two particles in a medium
that are moving in-phase. It is the length of one wave.
in-phase same distance from their respective equilibrium
positions and same velocity.

The speed of the wave's propagation is given by: v= f

= /T
v is the wave speed, f is the frequency and is the wavelength.
Periodic Transverse Waves
A person fishing from a pier observes that four wave crests pass
by in 7.0 [s] and estimates the distance between two successive
crests to be 4.0 [m]. The timing starts with the first crest and ends
with the fourth. What is the speed of the wave?
We should know the frequency of the oscillation. (show on the board)
3 cycles
f= =0.4286 [ Hz ]
7.0 [s]
The wavelength is given. =4.0[m]
E13. What is the speed of the wave?
v=1.7 [m / s]
Mathematical Description of Waves
Transverse sinusoidal wave:
During wave motion, a particle at some point x in the medium is
displaced by y from the equilibrium position.

Wave moving to
[
y ( x , t )= A cos
2
] [ ( )]
( xvt) = A cos 2
x t
T the +x-direction
= A cos [ k ( xvt ) ] ; k = 2/ is called the wave number.
v=
= A cos(kxt ); k

[ ( )]
y ( x , t )= A cos 2
x t
+
T
Wave moving to the
x -direction
= A cos [ k ( x+vt ) ]
Note: The arguments in the
= A cos(kx +t ) trigonometric function are set to
Mathematical Description of Waves
A certain wave is described by:

(
y ( x , t )=(6.50 [mm])cos 2
x

t
28.0 [cm] 0.0360[ s]).

Determine the (a) Amplitude, (b) wavelength, (c) frequency,

(d) wave speed and (e) the direction of propagation

Just compare the above wave function with the general form:
y ( x , t )= A cos(kx t ).
By inspection, you get
(c) E14. What is the (d) v= f
(a) A=6.50[ mm]
v=7.78[m/ s]
2 frequency f?
(b) k=
28.0[cm] f =27.8[ Hz]
2 2
= (e) toward the
28.0[cm]
+x-direction
=28.0[ cm]
=0.280[m]
Mathematical Description of Waves
A water wave traveling in a straight line on a lake is described by the equation
y ( x , t )=(3.75[ cm])cos ( 0.450[rad /cm] x+5.40[rad / s]t ) .
where y is the displacement perpendicular to the undisturbed surface of the lake. (a)
How much time does it take for one complete wave pattern to go past a fisherman in a
boat at anchor, and what horizontal distance does the wave crest travel in that time?
(b) What are the wave number and the number of waves per second that pass the
fisherman? (c) How fast does a wave crest travel past the fisherman, and what is the
maximum speed of his cork floater as the wave causes it to bob up and down?
Mathematical Description of Waves
A water wave traveling in a straight line on a lake is described by the equation
y ( x , t )=(3.75[ cm])cos ( 0.450[rad /cm] x+5.40[rad / s]t ) .
where y is the displacement perpendicular to the undisturbed surface of the lake. (a)
How much time does it take for one complete wave pattern to go past a fisherman in a
boat at anchor, and what horizontal distance does the wave crest travel in that time?
(b) What are the wave number and the number of waves per second that pass the
fisherman? (c) How fast does a wave crest travel past the fisherman, and what is the
maximum speed of his cork floater as the wave causes it to bob up and down?

(a) That time is just the period. The horizontal distance is just
From the wave function y(x,t): the wavelength
2 2
T
2
2 =
T= 0.450[rad /cm ]
=14.0[cm]
T =1.16 [ s]
Mathematical Description of Waves
A water wave traveling in a straight line on a lake is described by the equation
y ( x , t )=(3.75[ cm])cos ( 0.450[rad /cm] x+5.40[rad / s]t ) .
where y is the displacement perpendicular to the undisturbed surface of the lake. (a)
How much time does it take for one complete wave pattern to go past a fisherman in a
boat at anchor, and what horizontal distance does the wave crest travel in that time?
(b) What are the wave number and the number of waves per second that pass the
fisherman? (c) How fast does a wave crest travel past the fisherman, and what is the
maximum speed of his cork floater as the wave causes it to bob up and down?

(b) E1. What is the wave number?

The number of wave per second is just the frequency:
2 f =5.40[rad / s]
f= f =0.862[ s1 ].
2
Mathematical Description of Waves
A water wave traveling in a straight line on a lake is described by the equation
y ( x , t )=(3.75[ cm])cos ( 0.450[rad /cm] x+5.40[rad / s]t ) .
where y is the displacement perpendicular to the undisturbed surface of the lake. (a)
How much time does it take for one complete wave pattern to go past a fisherman in a
boat at anchor, and what horizontal distance does the wave crest travel in that time?
(b) What are the wave number and the number of waves per second that pass the
fisherman? (c) How fast does a wave crest travel past the fisherman, and what is the
maximum speed of his cork floater as the wave causes it to bob up and down?

(c) E2. What is the first The maximum speed of the

speed of propagation: cork is the maximum
transverse speed:
v=0.120[m/ s] v max= A
=(5.40[ s1 ])(3.75[ cm])
=20.25[cm/ s]
=0.2025[m/ s]
Wave Speed on a String
is linear mass density: (= m/L)

Fy vyt vy vy vy vy vy
= F y= F m = F (vt ) = F
F vt v t v t v

2 F
v =
F
v=
The speed of a wave on a string depends on the
tension on the string and the linear mass density.
Wave Speed on a String
With what tension must a rope with length 2.50 [m] and mass 0.120 [kg] be
stretched for transverse waves of frequency 40.0 [Hz] to have a wavelength
of 0.750 [m]?
Solve for v first using the wavelength and
frequency v= f
Then use the equation of v in terms
of tension and linear mass density
F
v= F= 43.2 [N]

The upper end of a 3.80-m-long steel wire is fastened to the ceiling, and a
54.0-kg object is suspended from the lower end of the wire. You observe that
it takes a transverse pulse 0.0492 [s] to travel from the bottom to the top of
the wire. What is the mass of the wire?

Solve for v first using the total The mass of the string can be
distance and the time that a solved by solving the linear mass
pulse traveled: density first:
F m F
v=
L
t
=
3.80[m]
0.0492[ s]
v=
F = 2
v
= 2
L v
F Mg
=77.2[m/ s] m= 2 L= 2 L =0.337 [kg]
v v
Energy Transfer in Waves
A wave can transport energy from one region of space to
another.
1 1
dU = k ' y 2 dU = (2 dm) y 2
2 2
1
dU = 2 ( dx ) y 2
2
1 2
dU = 2 [ A cos(kx t ) ] dx
2
1 1 dy
dK = dm v y 2 dK = ( dx) v y 2 ; v y=
2 2 dt

1 2
dK = [ A sin (kx t ) ] dx
2
The energy of the harmonic oscillator of mass dm in the string is:
1 2 2
dE=dK +dU = A dx
2
The energy of of the one whole wavelength on the string is:
1
E = 2 A 2
2
Energy Transfer in Waves
A wave can transport energy from one region of space to
another.
1 2
dU = 2 [ A cos(kx t ) ] dx
2
1 2
dK = [ A sin (kx t ) ] dx
2
1 2 2
dE=dK +dU = A dx
2
1
E = 2 A 2
2
The average rate at which this is energy is transported after one period is:
Ey 1 1
Pave = = 2 A2 = 2 A2v
T 2 T 2
The average rate at which
1 2 2
this is energy is transported
P ave= v A
2 is proportional to 2 and A2.
Energy Transfer in Waves
A piano wire with mass 3.00 [g] and length 80.0 [cm] is
stretched with a tension of 25.0 [N]. A wave with frequency
120.0 [Hz] and amplitude 1.60 [mm] travels along the wire.
(a) Calculate the average power carried by the wave.
(b) What happens to the average power if we double the
amplitude?

(a) Use the formula for the average power

1 2 2 =M / L=(3.00103
[kg])/(80.0102
[m])
P ave= v A
2 =3.75103 [kg/ m]
Pave =0.223[W ]
F=25.0[ N ]

A=1.60103 [m]

(b) The average =2 f =(2 [rad ])(120.0[1 / s])

Wave Intensity
Intensity the time average rate at which energy is
transported by the wave per unit area.
(The surface area is perpendicular to the direction of the
wave propagation)

P
I 1= 2 Unit is [W/m2]
4 r1

If there is no power loss as the

wave crosses the surfaces,
then
I 1 r 21=I 2 r 22